Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Apr 29 2008 - 14:58:16 EDT

If it were just a matter of God selecting a particular couple & communicating with them then evolution wouldn't pose any great threat to the traditional "fall" scenario. But the problem goes deeper than that - in particular, to Strimple's claim that there was "a first man specially created by God, morally perfect in knowledge, righteousness and holiness." What we know of the process of evolution in general, & what we can infer from the behavior of our nearest surviving primate relatives, indicates that the first humans would have been prone to sinful behavior - even thought they would not have been compelled to sin. Thus the claim that the first human(s) was/were "morally perfect" is problematic. This can be avoided if one postulates that God did something outside the ordinary course of natural processes to add some spiritual & moral capabilities to some hominid in order to create humkanity in the theological sense. This in fact is what traditional RC theology postulates - that what humanity lost in "the fall" was not any natural capacity but this added supernatural aspect, the donum superadditum. That is why Rome can accept human evolution up to a point. But adopting this approach means circumventing the evolutionary [process at a critical point.


----- Original Message -----
From: "David Campbell" <>
To: "asa" <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 2:00 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

>> The author is right, isn't he, that one must either reject human evolution
>> and accept a traditional understanding of the fall, or accept human
>> evolution and accept a neoorthodox understanding of the fall? Much as I've
>> tried to find middle ground, I don't see it.
> No. There is nothing about evolution that precludes the possibility
> that God specifically selected a couple (made physically by evolution)
> and told them to keep a garden and not eat from a particular tree.
> Innumerable variants exist on several details, such as whether they
> should be physical ancestors of all other humans or spiritual
> representatives whose choice affected co-existing individuals, whether
> this happens once or in each population unit, the degree to which
> aspects of the scenery are considered figurative or literal, etc.
> The genetic evidence regarding the size of the population bottleneck
> is problematic. Error bars on the estimates are probably rather wider
> than generally reported, plus the problem of not knowing at what time
> the population of interest should be sought.
> I'm inclined to a fairly historical take on the fall.
> --
> Dr. David Campbell
> 425 Scientific Collections
> University of Alabama
> "I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Tue Apr 29 15:01:37 2008

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